Fallout: New Vegas

Bought it on my lunch break today, seems to be cool so far. Similar enough to Fallout 3 that you’ll know what you’re doing, but there are quite a few new twists in there that are already apparent. Things like cooking, creating your own ammo, you don’t start out in a vault, etc. SPECIAL/Perks are still there, controls are the same so far, but even then, there are distinct but minute differences that should hopefully make the game that much more fun to play over and over.

So that’s my initial impressions after having just finished the first quest where you battle a gang. Anyone else played yet?

The Katy Perry Video

For some reason, the following video is causing quite a bit of hand-wringing in certain sectors:

First, let me say that this “controversy” was the first time I’d ever listened to a Perry song, much less watched a video from her.

That said, there is NOTHING wrong with this video. I’ve seen more skin on Sunday morning at Leesburg First Baptist Church than Katy Perry shows in this video. Yet there are those people who may as well deem that all women must wear a full burqa at all times that say this video is “morally degrading” or even “pornographic”. I would expect such terms from people like Ray McBerry, whose brand of “Christian” is so extreme as to make the Taliban look like Hollywood, yet this is from supposedly “mainstream Christians”.
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Fear Mongering and Voting in Georgia

[UPDATE Aug 20 2010] After some requests, I’m bumping this post back to the top of the page this morning while I work on another post on this topic that I hope to get up over the weekend. -Jeff

Republicans for several years now have consistently played the “fear” card when it comes election time. They consistently set up some Democrat – be it Al Gore, Roy Barnes, John Kerry, Mark Taylor, or Barack Obama – as some kind of Big Evil that is out to destroy us all, and then try to make us so afraid that we HAVE to vote for the Republican to avoid the Boogie Man. They tell us that if we vote for some “third” party that is more in line with our personal values rather than Their Candidate, the Boogie Man will win and all hope will be lost.

The problem is, Georgia is a “Runoff State” in every election other than the actual Presidential Election. In every race in this State other than President of the United States, a single candidate MUST receive 50% of the votes plus one vote in order to win the election.

It is due to Georgia being a Runoff State that the case for third parties is actually made EASIER, upon any amount of thought.
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Liberty Locally: Playgrounds

A version of this post went online last Thursday at UnitedLiberty.org

Nearly all of us played on various playgrounds as kids. Whether it be swinging, sliding, climbing monkey bars, or simply playing tag on an open field, play is an important part of childhood and one many of us look back on fondly.

The problem for local governments is that these days, playgrounds can be expensive. Depending on exactly what you want, they can easily cost upwards of $20K for a small one, and in the six figures for larger ones. Even for larger towns, this is a lot of money – and my town only has a population of around 3,000 people!

So how do we as a community promote small government while also providing ample play space for our community’s children?
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A War That Forged a Nation

July 4. A day filled with picnics, fireworks, and politics. Many of you will spend some time enjoying the outdoors this weekend, and some of you will probably go to some kind of parade in your town, where you will see a large number of candidates riding through the streets along with people in 1700s attire of various forms, and probably quite a few military uniforms.

It truly is a great day to celebrate America in all of her greatness.

You’ll probably hear Stars and Stripes Forever and Star Spangled Banner played quite frequently. Both are truly great songs. In all honesty, Stars and Stripes Forever is my favorite “classical” song of all time.

But Stars Spangled Banner has a history behind it, which you may or may not know and may or may not hear about, so I wanted to take you back to when it was written.

The year is 1812. The United States of America are involved in a brutal war against the British on three different fronts on their own soil – again, barely 30 years after the last war. The Americans have been defeated in battle after battle after battle on their own soil. Their new capital, with its Presidential Palace, has been burned to the ground and their President has been forced to flee the city.

The Americans are crushed. Britannia is poised to once again rule the American continent.

All the British have to do is capture Baltimore, on the shores of Chesapeake Bay, and their victory is all but assured. Their Navy – by FAR the best in the world, whose dominance is little challenged in this hemisphere – is blockading the bay into Baltimore. Meanwhile, the British Army is advancing to Baltimore on foot.

There is little hope left.
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Condoms. In First Grade.

Condoms are now being made to students as young as first grade in one Massachusetts school. Apparently this story is now getting some play on Fox News (no, I don’t watch that drivel, the headline and link was retweeted by someone in my twitter stream), but I first heard about this story on AJC’s Momania blog this morning.

Because it is getting play on Faux News, expect the conservatives to get up in arms about it. Like clockwork.

We’ve actually got two different issues raised in this one story. One is whether schools should give away condoms at all. The other is whether first grade is appropriate for this.

This whole episode is a perfect illustration of the need for separation of school and State. If that happened and parents had to pay for their own childrens’ schooling, they could pay to put their children in schools where condoms were given away or not, based on the parents’ wishes, without infringing on the rights of other parents who disagree. As is, no matter what decision this school makes, it is infringing on some parents’ rights by forcing them to pay to support a program they do not agree with or by denying them services they want their school to provide.

For the record, I believe sex education should be done at home, and NO WHERE else. That is one of the most personal decisions a person makes, and it should be the parent that teaches the child about sex – not government schools and not their youth pastor. In an environment where school and State were separated, I would not pay to send my child to a school – of any form – that violated that basic rule.

That said, for those that see my personal beliefs here as a cop-out, I offer these thoughts:
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One Man’s Take on Oil Spill

I normally think of celebrities talking about current issues as I would anyone else – they’re just normal people like you and me expressing an opinion. May or may not be correct, may or may not be actually based on facts, etc etc etc.

That said, when I know a person has a background in a particular field – regardless of whether they are a celebrity or not – I give their opinion a bit more weight than I do some random guy off the street. For example, when a guy tells me he served in the General Assembly for a decade and proceeds to tell me something about the inner workings of the Assembly, I give him a bit more credibility than someone who may or may not know that the General Assembly is the State of Ga’s Legislative branch of government.

Trace Adkins is a country music singer whose music I have been a fan of for quite a while. His biggest “crossover” hit has been “Honkytonkbadonkadonk” – a song you may have been as likely to hear in a dance club in Buckhead as on B100 in Albany. He also worked as a crewdog in the oil industry for a decade before becoming a famous country singer, and 6 of those years he spent working a rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper recently had him on his show, and this is what he had to say:
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Maintaining Moral Order

Webster’s defines moral as:

1 a : of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior : ethical (moral judgments) b : expressing or teaching a conception of right behavior (a moral poem) c : conforming to a standard of right behavior d : sanctioned by or operative on one’s conscience or ethical judgment (a moral obligation) e : capable of right and wrong action (a moral agent)

Now, in the debate over whose job it is to “maintain moral order”, we must first decide which standard of right and wrong to enforce. Will it be a generic “Punch Principle” standard, famously spoken by Jesus Christ of Nazareth as “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and more generically as “your rights end where mine begin”, or will be be some religious standard, such as Shari’a, Mosaic Law, Dharma (Hindu law), or any of several others not named here?

Because religious liberty is one of the founding principles of this Great Nation, we can NOT accept a religious standard as the standard of the civil government. People should be free to live under the religious law of their choosing, not one mandated upon them by government, and therefore government must enforce ONLY the more generic “Punch Principle” standard, some version of which is found across ALL systems of law.

But the question remains: who should be responsible for maintaining moral order?
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